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Former NBC correspondent Richard Valeriani explains rogue rant at CPI gala

Christiane Amanpour, giving Richard Valeriani the evil eye before she escorted him off stage. (Center for Public Integrity)

The Center for Public Integrity's 20th anniversary dinner at the Newseum was wrapping up Thursday night -- after speeches, dinner, wine, yet more speeches -- when things took a lively if unexpected turn: Former NBC correspondent Richard Valeriani, now a blogger living in Connecticut, took the stage uninvited and railed against the GOP.

"I guess it was my tea party moment," he told us Monday. He said he got frustrated after listening to remarks by Rep. Darrell Issa -- an "egregious" example, Valeriani said, of "obstructionists who put party ahead of the country." The veteran newsman, now in his late 70s, delivered his impromptu diatribe (first reported by The Hill) until emcee Christiane Amanpour politely dragged him off. There were a few boos, but Valeriani said some guests came up to praise him.

The center's executive director wasn't amused. "Mr. Valeriani is entitled to his own opinion," said Bill Buzenberg. "He is not entitled to take over the platform at the end of our program to express it. We regret that he did so."

Valeriani, left, and John Chancellor interviewing Henry Kissinger back in the day, 1976. (NBCU/AP)

By The Reliable Source  | October 26, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
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Sounds like a case of a grumpy grandpa.

Posted by: MediaWatchdog | October 25, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I was at the event. Many in the crowd probably agree with him about Darrell Issa. But Valeriani's rant was way out of bounds, extremely undignified and a slap in the face of Chuck Lewis, the founder of CPI who was being honored. Up until last Thursday, I remembered Richard Valeriani as an accomplished TV journalist. Now I'll remember him as a fool.

Posted by: noisewater4059 | October 26, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I was also at this event, what I saw was a drunk, crazy(flowers from center piece jamned into his suit pocket) old man who looked lost most of the evening, as well as unshowered.

Posted by: MBD2 | October 26, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

NewsBusters: Ex NBC Reporter Valeriani Bounds on Stage to Rail Against 'Obstructionist' GOP

Posted by: StewartIII | October 26, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

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